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Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Writer's Life 5/18 - Inside-Out

My thanks to the kind folks who purchased books on this gorgeous day. Here's an excerpt from an unpublished novel titled Inside-Out, the story of a man of traditional values and a modern woman. I plan to self-publish two others before it, one each January. When I first began to contact publishers and agents about I-O in the 80's, I used a tag: "Can a novel be explicit and meaningful?" When I transferred it to a web file circa 2000, it became much less explicit. As I aged and, hopefully, became wiser, I determined less is more when writing about sex. I believe going too far detracts and distracts from story. And these days there are certainly plenty of more efficient ways to attain gratification, and any web user knows what I mean.

   Vinnie was dozing when Karen entered.
   "Let's go out," she said, switching off the television. "I've been cooped up all day. I have a headache."
   "I'll get you some aspirin."
   He splashed his face at the bathroom sink. She was already dressed, in loose sweats, when he entered the bedroom.
   "I've been getting a lot of headaches lately," she said, taking a glass of water and a tablet from him.
   "Think it might be the pill?"
   "I've never had a problem with it before." She took a second tablet from him. "Must be tension."
   He sensed she was hinting it would be foolish of them to live together.
   "The pill scares me. Anything that alters the body chemistry does."
   "It's too convenient to give up. Besides, the headaches probably have nothing to do with it. Are you trying to get me to go off so I'll get pregnant? I wouldn't have the baby even if you got down on your knees and begged. And how would you be sure it'd even be yours?"
   He winced.
   "You deserved it. I can beat you any time I want. You're not as smart as you think, and I know exactly what hurts you, what makes you tick. I don't know how you could even consider me having your child. I want to be free. I want to enjoy myself. Can't you understand that? And I can imagine what a baby'd do to my hips. I'd hate the kid for it. Is that the type of mother you want for your kids?"
   "Suppose I offered to stay home with them?"
   "You would," she said contemptuously, hurrying toward the door.
   She stopped for wine, then headed for Manhattan Beach, a quiet, upper middle class area of Brooklyn tucked between Sheepshead Bay and the sea. Although the night was cool and breezy, there were several couples scattered about. Karen lay the blanket near the shoreline and they sat silently, looking out over the water, watching the ebbing tide, drinking from the bottle.
   "What's your problem?" said Karen petulantly. "What a puss you got on."
   "If you don't want any kids, why not get your tubes cut? Why assume the risk of birth control?"
   Her head jerked angrily. "Bastard. Why can't you ever leave things alone? I should've sat here and said nothing the whole night. When am I gonna learn not to set you up?"
   "Answer me."
   "Who says getting them cut's safe? I've wanted to do it for so long, but I haven't been able to get up the guts. And it leaves a scar. I hate the thought of it."
   "Is it because I'm a gentile?"
   "No! What's wrong with you? I just don't want to be a mother. Accept it. Nothing is more important to me than my own life. I know exactly what you're thinking. You're hoping I'm undecided. I'm not. I decided a long time ago. I will never have children."
   Not even Mark's? he was tempted to say. Was the fact that she and Mark were Jews the reason the bond between them was so strong?
  "How can you not want kids? You're so afraid of death. You can live on through your children and grandchildren."
   "Oh, please. It wouldn't be me that was living. I can't delude myself that way. You can. I don't care what happens once I die. The world could end, for all I care. I hope it does. I don't want anything to live on after me. I don't want any young people being born."
   "Selfish bitch."
   "That's right, I am. Maybe it's finally sunk into that guinea skull of yours. I'll take from you all I want, then leave."
   "And when you get old?"
   "I'm not afraid of being alone. I've always felt alone. It's better than being with somebody you'd come to despise, who'd really rather be with a younger woman. Maybe I'll take to mentoring teenage boys about sex."
  "That won't work. Fifteen-year-old's are giving it up these days. They don't need women like you any more."
   "There's always a vibrator. I have too much pride to go to one now, but more and more I can see the advantages of it. It's more reliable than men and it won't talk back."
   "You're sick, you really are."
   "No, you are. You see how life is and you insist on doing it the same way it's always been done."
   "Some people do love each other for a lifetime, despite ups and downs."
   "Only fools or liars. There's too much life to pass up to be faithful to one person."
   "Do you believe in anything at all?"
   "Only in me."
   "You think like a devil-worshiper. You want the world -- you want life to end."
   "Don't worry, it'll always go on because of fools like you who buy into and perpetuate myths that make people feel guilty and prevent them from enjoying themselves."
   He glared at her in the moonlight.
   "Go for it," she sneered. "Come on. I know what's coming. When a woman outsmarts a man he'll always resort to brute strength."
Vic's Short Works:
Vic's 5th Novel:'s 4th novel:
Vic's 3rd Novel:
Vic's Short Story on Kindle:
Vic's Short Story Collection:
Vic's 2nd Novel: Kindle:
Vic's 1st Novel:

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